Falcons take on medical risk with Hayden

Rex Grossman's misfortune culminated with a game-clinching interception return by Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden early in the fourth quarter. Kelvin Hayden (26) istepped in front of Bears wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad to make the play, then returned the ball 56 yards for the game's final points in Super Bowl XLI. (Associated Press)

Rex Grossman's misfortune culminated with a game-clinching interception return by Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden early in the fourth quarter. Kelvin Hayden (26) istepped in front of Bears wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad to make the play, then returned the ball 56 yards for the game's final points in Super Bowl XLI. (Associated Press)

The Falcons took a calculated-medical risk in signing cornerback Kelvin Hayden, who with a neck injury, was having trouble passing some team’s physical examinations.

Before signing with the Falcons on Thursday, he’d visited seven or eight teams, including Kansas City, Carolina, Chicago, Minnesota and Washington.

The Falcons, have taken calculated-medical risks on in the past on Coy Wire and Kevin Mathis, as both had neck injuries. They were comfortable with Hayden’s neck because there is new technology that can better analyze those injuries, general manager Thomas Dimitroff said.

Hayden missed the last four games of the 2010 season with a neck injury. It is not known how many of the teams he visited flunk him on his physical exams.

“My neck is fine,” Hayden said. “It’s something that everybody was questioning. I’m just glad the Atlanta Falcons gave me an opportunity. I’m just excited to get out there and have some fun. I want to show that I can still play.”

Hayden has not played in all 16 games since the 2007 season. In 2009, he missed seven games with a hamstring injury. In 2008, he missed six games with a knee injury.

“To miss that amount of time and to know that you’re not out there with your boys that you grind with, week-in and week-out, that’s the tough part,” Hayden said. “You can’t look back. All I’m thinking about is this season. Hopefully, I’ll be out there for the whole 16 and even [three] or [four] for the playoffs.”

Earlier in his career in Indianapolis, the Colts played mostly cover-two zones. But the last two seasons, they have mixed up their defenses.

Hayden played mostly on the left side and has played some nickel back. The Falcons have an opening at nickel back, where Christopher Owens, Dominique Franks and Rafael Bush were competing for action. Brent Grimes plays left cornerback, so look for Hayden to be in the mix for the nickel back spot.

“We haven’t discussed anything like that,” Hayden said. “Like I said, I’m taking it day by day. I’m here to contribute the best way that I can. If it’s the nickel or where ever they want me at, I’m here to play football.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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51 comments Add your comment

Open Minded

September 2nd, 2011
11:40 am

At least he is positive about it….. He is definitely better than Owen who was drilled again last night!
What does management see in Owen?? I cannot see anything good.

coachx

September 2nd, 2011
11:41 am

He is an easy upgrade over Owens and Franks.

TD gave the 2 young guys every chance in the world to show they belong. Can’t fault a GM when a 3rd and 5th round pick turn out to be Dime Backs rather then Nickle Backs.

DHunt

September 2nd, 2011
11:43 am

FIRST thing we have to understand is that injuries happen in football. Not picking up a guy because he might get injured is ultimately ridiculous.

Say It Aint So

September 2nd, 2011
11:43 am

1st! I sure Hope Hayden can stay healthy, we will need him. Does this mean Owens may be released?

coachx

September 2nd, 2011
11:43 am

I’d keep Walls over Owens.

DHunt

September 2nd, 2011
11:43 am

would have been first but blog monster on DOL doens’t like me

Say It Aint So

September 2nd, 2011
11:44 am

Slow on the draw. Oh well.

Atl fan

September 2nd, 2011
11:45 am

It’s worth the risk. The DBs were our greatest risk during pre season. Hayden and Sanders are good pick ups. Should be more available as teams make their cuts tomorrow.

DHunt

September 2nd, 2011
11:45 am

this is the NFL. not picking up a player because he might get hurt is ridiculous. There isn’t any real correlation between injury history and chances of future injury. If the man can play, I say let’s put him on the field.

Archives

September 2nd, 2011
11:45 am

Falcons wrap up the preseason 0-4.

Dirty Byrd

September 2nd, 2011
11:46 am

Why is Owens still wearing 21 since we retired Prime Time’s # 21 last season?

truth

September 2nd, 2011
11:47 am

Arthur Blank getting divorced..

hopefully this does not hamper the Falcons spending.. I bet his wife will take 50%

Say It Aint So

September 2nd, 2011
11:50 am

I wouldn’t worry about our pre season record. With the new additions to the defense, my concern now is the O line

BOB

September 2nd, 2011
11:50 am

known how many of the teams he visited flunk him on his physical exams

so for Hayden to be in the mix for the nickel back spot.

mountain_jim

September 2nd, 2011
12:21 pm

Wonder what that technology is that TD is referring to?

some sense

September 2nd, 2011
12:30 pm

Pre-nup, guys. Stef will get a nice payday, but not a major percentage.

Creaky

September 2nd, 2011
12:31 pm

In the postseason they will be talking about what two great pickups Hayden and Sanders were!

NATIVEBIRD

September 2nd, 2011
12:35 pm

Good bye Owens, keep those socks down. At least you didn’t get burned more than four times last night. That’s better but not n the NFL. YOU ARE NOT READY FOR SUNDAYS! Get something for him TD.

ASHCAN.

September 2nd, 2011
12:42 pm

More damaged goods first edwards(knee) now hayden(neck).

the song remains the same

September 2nd, 2011
12:47 pm

I did not know Owens was with Nickle Back, but his play is like their songs, same thing over and over. Never Again Owens.

Kurtis

September 2nd, 2011
12:50 pm

I gotta say, i liked the way the McIlwain kid played last night. I’d take him over Owens any day.

Falcon'sTalon

September 2nd, 2011
1:16 pm

Owens should be gone. Gartrell Johnson, who drops to the ground faster than a deer full of buckshot, is out; also considering the play of Anton Smith. Now what about Kerry Meier? Vote off the island?

nathan

September 2nd, 2011
1:16 pm

Right on, Kurtis

rudy

September 2nd, 2011
1:17 pm

lets keep hope and faith alive

**Frederick(Bailey)Douglass**

September 2nd, 2011
1:18 pm

Very good signing. Awesome really. You can never really have too many good, veteran DBs. Trust me. They ALL will have their time to contribute in SIGNIFICANT ways. Other observations:

1) Edwards will add value to our pass rush. I envision situations where he, #71 and #55 are all on the field at the same time. Gotta get there…

2) #97 Tre Lewis played a good game last night. Destroyed the protection on almost every play. He will be a tough cut.

3) DeCoud better get right. His center field ability has been questioned and for good reason. We dont need him for run support…we need him (most of all) to be the last line of defense. He has been burned…

4) I’m impressed more and more by Jacquizz Rodgers. If you watch his runs, he almost always is falling forward with each run. Look for him to be like Ray Rice in Baltimore. Low to the ground…moving forward.

5) Great move by TD this week. I have really be impressed with his shrewdness in trading up for A) trading up for Jones, B) signing Edwards and C) bringing in Sanders and Hayden.

Before Sander and Hayden…I had the birds at 10-6

Now…11-5, with a real chance to play in the Super Bowl. It all depends on Ryan’s development. By game 8 we need him to look *something* like a rocket thrower (e.g. Brees, Rodgers, Brady).

Only time will tell.

FBD

Morehouse 31
Howard 10

Eric

September 2nd, 2011
1:23 pm

I will take Hayden, even at 75% healthy, over Owens or Franks being 100% healthy ALL DAY!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 2nd, 2011
1:42 pm

mountain_jim – some kind of MRI that can take better pictures inside of the neck column (too complicated to explain in a sports article).

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 2nd, 2011
1:43 pm

Bob — Don’t have that number at this time.

Super Quick

September 2nd, 2011
1:52 pm

I agree that owens must go. He should have been cut after the green bay game. Keep Franks, he is 6 feets and have speed and can help on special teams and he will get better like Grimes did.but let the new guys play for now.

Tommy Gunn

September 2nd, 2011
2:37 pm

Who is blank’s new girlfriend? I mean, 16 years ago, he had a twenty-something new girl. Stands to reason he’s found a new model.

ATL Observer

September 2nd, 2011
2:40 pm

Any attempt to address the cornerback situation is better than nothing. While I would have rather had TD go after someone like a Asomugha, or a Cromartie, or a Joseph, I’ll happily take this over just ho-hummingly assuming that Owens and/or Franks will have it on lock.

BigHittas

September 2nd, 2011
2:56 pm

like I said before, I’m in my mid-fifties and I could catch passes on Owens, y’all don’t listen! My Granny on scooter from the scooter store could catch passes on him.

kenny t

September 2nd, 2011
3:07 pm

Enter your comments here

gem

September 2nd, 2011
3:12 pm

I wanta see some offense.

Ms.Lo

September 2nd, 2011
5:05 pm

Enter your comments here

Ms.Lo

September 2nd, 2011
5:18 pm

I do not like your term “medical risk” are u a doctor – do not judge someone whom you do not know – football is a physical sport, you do know that and injuries happen – what does it matter how many teams he has visited – If it was not for his interception those Colts would not have won – maybe you should play and see how physical the game is instead of calling someone a medical risk -

Falcon James

September 2nd, 2011
7:35 pm

Obviously the risk Haydens injury didnt out way the risk of Owens and Franks giving up touchdowns. Anything is a improvement over those two yahoos. Grimes is solid, I still worry about Dunte. I look for him to be replaced sooner than later.

Just Looking

September 2nd, 2011
7:53 pm

dang…bad news for Franks and/or Owens…team taking medical risk on veteran with neck injury..not good for them

Just Looking

September 2nd, 2011
7:59 pm

Ms.Lo

Stop being so sensitive..a medical risk is a big thing….ESPECIALLY with a physical sport such as football. His INT vs the Colts (years ago) has nothing to do with his signing in 2011.

Just Looking

September 2nd, 2011
8:01 pm

I very excited about Quizz Rodgers. I just wish he got more reps with the #1’s. I’m a little worried about JJ. On his push off, he still dropped the ball.

[...] owner Arthur Blank and his wife have separated. D. Orlando Ledbetter writes that the Falcons took a medical risk when they signed cornerback Kelvin Hayden. He had a neck injury and was unable to pass physical [...]

Notso Fast

September 3rd, 2011
7:50 am

I like Walls over Owens. Owens looks good but can not defend against the pass.

KenK

September 3rd, 2011
11:10 am

I didnt see anything here about how Ray Edwards played? I know he was not playing against 1st string but he looked alot better than last game..faster..in the QB face.

Dieheartfalcon

September 3rd, 2011
6:08 pm

Lets go get brandon meriweather now before someone else gets him and answer all our secondary problems….. The patriots just released him.

Jborodawg

September 4th, 2011
10:14 am

“….Hayden missed the last four games of the 2010 season with a neck injury…. has not played in all 16 games since the 2007 season. In 2009, he missed seven games with a hamstring injury. In 2008, he missed six games with a knee injury….”

Hmmm… I hope this move works.

Joey M

September 5th, 2011
1:07 pm

Looks like we have a lot of if’s and but’s. In a perfect world the Falcons will not have any significant injuries, the new faces will play in all 16, play in a high percentage of plays, and we will march into the Super Bowl. I like that TS and MS are open-minded to the things that can make this team better. The key to the Falcons season is our play calling on offense. Spread opposing teams secondary out, go for the deep pass.

hollywoodWurm

September 5th, 2011
4:53 pm

Eventually Hayden will be the nickel back; giving us the flexibility to put grimes on the smaller slot receiver in 3 rec. Sets

hiramsaint

September 5th, 2011
10:41 pm

why not- they took on edwards

Ben

September 6th, 2011
11:51 am

There is a huge difference in the talent level on this team. We cut some pretty good players that would have been a big part of the team in years past. This all shows how TD has accumulated talent that we have not seen in years. Now if we can stay healthy.

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